We all pretty much started surfing Garvies at the same time, a kind of evolution from the safe waves of town to the rock and roll of the waves nearest to home. It was 79 or 80 when I finally got the courage to walk down Sloane Road with my little twin fin and face the local crew of older guys who ruled at Garvies.
We all did the same thing pretty much at the same time so it made life a bit easier. Paw Paw, Wade, Wayne, Thomas, Leroy, Jack, Johan, Baffy, Tony, Brent. We were the new wave of grommets who all of a sudden invaded the line up.
It was kind of a safety in numbers thing, but we all had to pay the price. There was a heavy bunch of older locals and they made sure we learnt how things were going to be if we wanted to call Garvies our beach. Chippy, Wayne, Brian, Rodney, Lance, Lofty and drunken Duncan they all rode motorbikes, had panel vans, girlfriends, charged hard and they made our lives hell.
There were rules.
1) You would be buried in the sand as many times as need be and pissed on for any deemed offence.
2) You could never paddle for any wave unless permission was previously granted.
3) You had to go on any wave you were told to paddle for.
4) You would be dragged naked around the car park for fun.
5) You would not surf on the same side of the pipe unless invited.
6) You would learn “ if you don’t live here, you do not surf here.”
7) You would make sure “ Town Clowns go home”.
8) You would respect your elders and obey their every wish.
9) You would have dog shit smeared all over you.
10) You would enjoy it and have fun or you would be punished.
That first summer I spent every single hour possible down at the beach, there are no shops, showers, toilets or anything down at Garvies and it was heaven. We would starve, dehydrate, get burned to a crisp and at the end of every day crawl up the hill and home as happy as you could possibly imagine.
They were the glory days we knew our turn would come. In time it would be our responsibility to uphold the tradition and keep our sanctuary safe from intrusion.
I don’t think we ever imagined just how out of hand things would get.